DECLAN Devine, his backroom staff and players will not have experienced too much enjoyment during the final days of the highly success Fleadh Cheoil last weekend.
Defeated 2-0 by Drogheda United at the Brandywell - the second defeat by Mick Cooke’s men in consecutive weeks, was hardly the result Derry City would have expected.
But it’s clear that the Derry boss has opted not to panic and focus on the positives in recent home games.
In football at any level, there are occasions when, no matter what a manager or player tries to do, it goes wrong.
Poor results follow, heads drop, confidence falls to an all-time low and it’s my belief that the “Candy Stripes” are currently experience such a scenario.
However, when one takes into consideration performances which had been decent, yet that was not rewarded with a good result, then really such results must be taken on the chin.
For example, when Derry entertained Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell in such a match just a few weeks ago, it was my view that the local side could so easily have won that match, rather than lose it.
A missed penalty opportunity didn’t help with the score-sheet blank but, at the same time, chances had been created and were not taken.
In the Dundalk match, City could so easily have shared the spoils which would have been acceptable. Derry certainly didn’t deserve to win that match, but conceding a late goal compounded the home side’s problems.
However, the soft goals which have literally crucified the team in the two matches against Drogheda United were hard to take.
In my view, all five Drogheda goals could so easily have been avoided. The cheap loss of possession, miss-timed tackles, failure to clear the danger and, of course, poor decision making have all be punished.
And that the top level in Irish football, errors will be punished such is the quality in the league at the moment.
Incidentally, not all errors were defensive errors. In fact, the failure of the club’s offensive players when failing to take advantage of clear-cut scoring opportunities on quite a few occasions, also cost Derry City dearly.
Derry City now face nine major cup finals before the current season ends and all is not yet lost.
I’m not suggesting that Derry will win the Premier Division title, but I do believe that the side is capable of a strong finish to the campaign to guarantee a place in next season’s Europa League at least.
This Friday night it’s a case of back to the Brandywell for the Ford FAI Cup and the visit of Dublin side, Bluebell United.
I believe the cup match will prove to be a welcome change but given that Bluebell, who boast a number of ex-League of Ireland journey-men in their ranks, will not be overcome easily.